Jorn Ebner’s recent work has emerged from his interests in the danse macabre, the mediaeval allegory on death, the literature of American novelist William S Burroughs and French poet Charles Baudelaire, and the songs of John Lennon, whose murder had enormous impact on the artist as a teenager.
After revisiting the biographies of The Beatles for his public art project (The Beatles) in Hamburg (2011-12), Ebner continued reading about, and revisited the music of, John Lennon. The triptych 8 12 1980 was intended to depict the murder from imagination: a totally distraught woman, a man collapsing from a fatal injury, a building towering over them both.
The smaller Spielmann drawings are taken from portrait photographs in a German Rolling Stone magazine special issue on Lennon. The German ‘Spielmann’ means ‘gleeman’, a mediaeval travelling performer or musician, and in images of the danse macabre, Death is often portrayed as a piper leading the dance. The drawings are intended to create a contemporary dance of death, with the dead musician leading the way.
The new Wounded Galaxy drawing series is also to be seen in this context, although Ebner here draws on the image of a rose as the subject after reading lines of Baudelaire and Burroughs. The title comes from Across the Wounded Galaxies, the last chapter of Burroughs’ novel The Soft Machine. Ebner merges this with one of his favourite Beatles songs, Across the Universe to create the title of the exhibition.
Presented as part of ‘drawing?’ an extensive region-wide programme of exhibitions, events and activities which aims to celebrate, explore and consider the role of drawing in art and design, science, technology and everyday life. The programme runs until January 2016 and is a collaboration between several of the North East’s universities, galleries, museums, archives, artist-led groups, artists and makers. To find out more go to www.drawingne.org.uk